Playing games on your PC is not as good as on other computers? Do you see awesome screenshots and think, "I wish my computer could do this"? Often times, getting these results starts with the graphics card. Updating a graphics card can be a daunting task, especially with so many options, but with a budget and a screwdriver at your disposal, you'll have a sturdy new card installed before you know it. See Step 1 for how to do this.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing a Graphics Card
Step 1. Open your system unit
In order to find your old card, identify your power supply and install a new one, you will need to open the computer case. Most modern cases have screws on the back, which will allow you to easily remove the side panels, but you may need a Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws on older cases.
- You must disconnect the power cable and all peripherals before removing the side panels.
- Remove the panel on the opposite side of the motherboard. If you look at the back of your computer, you will see a panel on one side that contains a variety of ports, including USB, Ethernet, display ports, and more. This is the motherboard I / O panel, and will help you see which side of the motherboard is on. You can put the computer on this side and remove the panel opposite, this way you can easily access the motherboard.
Step 2. Make sure your PSU is capable of completing the task
Powerful graphics cards require a power source that can provide what they need. If you are using an old PSU or have many other components to receive power, it is not possible to cut the PSU. If so, consider upgrading your power supply at the same time you upgrade your graphics card.
- There are many sites on the Internet that can help you calculate your power consumption by analyzing all the equipment that is currently installed or planning to install. Search for "power supply calculator" using your favorite search engine.
- Your PSU will also need PCI-E connectors. This is generally not a problem if your PSU is new, but PSUs over 10 years old may not have the correct connectors.
- The maximum wattage of the power supply should be indicated on a sticker affixed to the power supply. You may have to turn off the power to find it.
Step 3. Make sure your motherboard supports the card
Almost all graphics cards are PCI-E these days, so you should make sure you have at least one of these slots. As a rule, they are located closer to the processor, in the block of PCI slots. If you don't have PCI-E slots, you may need to install a new motherboard if you want to upgrade your graphics card.
- Refer to your motherboard documentation for a schematic diagram. This will help you determine where the PCI-E slots are located.
- Installing a new motherboard will require reinstalling the operating system.
- Note: Most laptops do not allow graphics card updates.
Step 4. Make sure the card fits
Many modern graphics cards are quite large, and many take up the space of two PCI slots in a computer. They can also be quite tall and long, so you need to make sure there is enough vertical and horizontal clearance.
Use a tape measure to mark the vertical and horizontal gap you have. Nearly all cards will be sized according to their product descriptions, allowing you to ensure that it will fit before you buy it
Step 5. Find the sweet spot between price and powerVideo cards can get expensive. "Obscene" is expensive. At some point, the average user will not benefit from the increased cost of more expensive cards. Examine the applications you intend to use your card with and find the card that gives you the best power and reliability for your money.
- More expensive cards tend to "serve" video card overclockers and users who want to use 2- or 4-core card configurations.
- Be sure to read as many reviews as possible before deciding to buy a card. There are many resources on the Internet for finding the best performance for your money. Sites like Tom's Hardware publish comparison charts to rank the most popular cards across all price ranges, and customer reviews on sites like Newegg can provide insight into the average person's experience with the card.
- Check the system requirements for your favorite games. See which graphics card is recommended to get the best performance out of the games you love and keep in mind the needs of future games.
Step 6. Find cards that are recommended for your interests
Different cards are best suited for different uses, although most cards do well to be jack of all trades. Below are some of the more popular cards as of 2014:
- Nvidia GTX 670 - This is a good all-around card that can run most games at Ultra settings. Highly recommended for graphic designers and also Photoshop. You can usually find them for around $ 400. The Radeon R9 290 is also a good choice for the same price.
- AMD Radeon HD 6670 - This is a low-end card that can run most games at Medium and High settings. You can get your hands on this card for under $ 70.
- Nvidia GTX 780 Ti - This is one of the best high-end cards at the moment and can handle pretty much anything you dump on it. It has its own price to meet the stated parameters - about $ 700
- If your focus is on graphic design, look for cards with additional onboard storage such as 3GB or 4GB. They will be more expensive, but will increase your rendering and encoding speed.
Step 7. Look at the map display options
As display technology improves, a number of options become available on video cards. Your new card can support HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, VGA, or any combination of these. Check what your monitor uses to connect and buy the card accordingly.
- For optimal quality, you need to connect via HDMI or DisplayPort.
- If you want to run the process from multiple monitors, make sure your graphics card can support multiple monitors with quality ports. You don't want one HDMI monitor and the other VGA, as the VGA monitor will be low resolution and looks awful next to an HDMI monitor.
Part 2 of 3: Installing the Card
Step 1. Remove old drivers
One of the biggest opportunities for bugs and problems to occur is through driver incompatibility. Before installing a new card, it is highly recommended that you uninstall the drivers that Windows currently uses to display graphics.
- The quickest way to uninstall drivers is to open Device Manager and uninstall them from there. To open Device Manager, find the Start menu or press ⊞ Win + X and select it from the menu (Windows 8 only).
- After entering the Device Manager, expand the Display Adapters section. Right click on the current display adapter and click Uninstall. Follow the instructions to remove the driver from your computer. Your display will likely revert to poor quality, with large icons and blurry text. Turn off your computer after uninstalling the drivers.
Step 2. Perform grounding
Whenever you work on sensitive computer components, you should always make sure that you are properly grounded. Electrostatic discharge can damage or destroy your components, rendering them useless. It is best if you use an anti-static wrist strap attached to the exposed metal in your case. If you do not have one, you can make grounding by touching a metal water faucet with your hand.
- Make sure that the open computer is not "resting" on the carpet, and that you are standing on tiles or linoleum while working inside the computer.
- Make sure the computer is unplugged from the wall before working inside the computer.
Step 3. Determine where the old map is
You can find your old video card plugged into a PCI-E or AGP slot on your motherboard (AGP cards are usually found in older computers). Most video cards are quite large and will likely be the largest card installed on your system. They often have fans and radiators attached to them.
If your computer used integrated graphics before (the monitor was connected directly to the motherboard), then there will be no card to fix
Step 4. Remove the existing card
When upgrading your graphics card, you will want to remove the old card before installing the new one. Remove the screw that secures the card to the case. Most newer cards have a tab at the bottom near the back of the PCI slot that will need to be released in order to remove the card.
- When removing the card, pull it upward so as not to damage the PCI slot.
- Make sure everything connected to the old card is disconnected before removing it.
Step 5. Clean up the dust
With your old card removed, it will be a great time to clean your PC of any dust that has accumulated. Use a small vacuum or compressed air to remove any dust from the gaps around the PCI slot. Dust can build up and cause components to overheat, so a good cleaning will help your computer run for a long time.
Step 6. Insert a new card
Carefully remove the card from your anti-static bag, avoiding touching its contacts or circuitry. Insert it straight into the empty PCI-E slot and press down evenly on top until it is fully seated. If you have a clip for your PCI-E slot, you will hear it snap into place.
- You may need to remove the adjacent panel if your graphics card is two panels wide.
- Make sure cables or any other components do not interfere with the full seating of the card.
Step 7. Secure the card
Use the case screws to secure the graphics card to the chassis. If the graphics card is two panels wide, secure it with two screws, one for each section. Make sure the card is fully inserted before it is secured with the screws.
Step 8. Connect the power supply
Most modern cards will have power port connectors built into the top of the back of the card. You will need to plug in one or two PCI-E connectors from your power supply, which are typically 6-pin cables. Without connecting a power supply, these cards will not work properly.
Many video cards come with adapters that will replace existing connectors with ones that fit your video card
Step 9. Shut down your computer
After you have verified that the card has been installed correctly, securely and connected to a power source, you can close the system unit. Make sure the display is connected to a new graphics card. If you have used before video on the main board, the monitor was most likely connected to the motherboard. In order to use your new card, the display must be connected to it.
For best results, use HDMI or DisplayPort to connect the display to your graphics card. If your monitor or graphics card does not support HDMI or DisplayPort, the next best choice is DVI, followed by VGA
Part 3 of 3: Installing and Testing Drivers
Step 1. Turn on your computer
Your operating system will most likely detect the new card and try to adjust the display to use the optimal resolution and color depth. Accept the changes and start the operating system.
- If your monitor is not displaying images at all, you need to troubleshoot the installation. Make sure your card is properly installed and connected.
- An uneven, jagged, or distorted image may indicate a problem with your graphics card. Make sure your card is installed correctly before contacting the manufacturer.
Step 2. Insert the driver disc or download the drivers
If your graphics card came with a driver disc, you can insert it now to begin the driver setup process. If your card doesn't come with a disc, or you want the latest release of possible drivers, you can download the drivers directly from Nvidia or AMD (whichever card you have).
Step 3. Install the drivers
The driver installation process is mostly automatic, although you may be asked if you would like to install additional management software video card. This additional software is optional, but can help ensure that your drivers are up to date. The display will blink, most likely flicker and reset during installation.
The drivers on the disc are almost always out of date by the time you purchase them, so you will most likely be asked to update them after installing them
Step 4. Start the game
Let's be honest, you bought this card for this reason, so you can play the newest and greatest games. So what's the best way to test the map, but not launch it? Check the settings menu before starting the game video games. Turn on all parameters to the maximum and try your luck! If it runs smoothly, then everything is going well!
- When setting a resolution, you should always try to keep it at the level of your monitor's resolution. For most flat panel monitors, this is 1920x1080, although newer monitors have a higher native resolution than that.
- If the game is interrupted or does not perform well, start decreasing parameters one by one. Don't worry if your card can't handle ultra settings; sometimes games don't work correctly with any card!
- Game performance depends on many parameters, not just the video card. Your processor, RAM, and even the speed of your hard drive all play a role in how the game runs.
- As with anything you do inside a computer case, move slowly and carefully. For maximum precision - for example, when pulling out your graphics card - keep your hands close to your body and organize your task so that your arms move across the front of your body. This will allow you to use your chest and abdominal muscles as well as your arms for fine tuning.
- Please be aware that replacing your computer's graphics card may void your warranty. For most computers, especially those you build yourself, this will be a case. You may not even be able to replace the graphics card in other computers you use (your computer at work or school).